SARASOTA, FL – All Star Children’s Foundation’s mission is to transform the model of foster care through innovation, science, and trauma-informed therapy. It’s an ambitious goal but Graci McGillicuddy, All Star’s board chair and co-founder, says nothing less will do. “We’re determined to change the face of foster care and replace a broken system,” she says. “Today, the organization is closer to this reality thanks to these caring people who feel the calling and truly believe in our mission.”
These new foster parents include Chip and Lindsey Caffelle and Marlene Miller and her daughter, Ryan Miller.
“These four extraordinary individuals joined the All Star team to make a huge difference for children who have been removed from traumatic home environments,” says McGillicuddy. “It’s a critical period for these children—and All-Star’s model of trauma-informed therapy can set them on the right track for life. This marks a vital chapter in All Star’s new model of foster care—and these individuals will help make that possible. Their hearts are large and our gratitude to them even larger.”
Chip and Lindsey Caffelle have served as foster parents before. They bring a powerful commitment to foster children in their care and strive to heal the broken family dynamic that put them at risk. “We’ve enjoyed building relationships with the parents and seeing them reunified with their children,” notes Chip. “We love the work we do. For us, this is all about the children—and we know the All Star model will build resilience in them.”
For Ryan Miller and her mother, Marlene, writing a check to a charitable organization isn’t enough. They want to give of themselves—personally. Ryan shares that, “We want to give back to our community and being a part of All Star is a great way we can do it.” Marlene adds that, “All Star’s partnerships with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Safe Children Coalition, and other community organizations inspired us. We know we’re part of an excellent team and have excellent resources we can draw on.”
All Star has nearly completed its “Campus of Hope and Healing,” which will provide a nurturing, family-style home environment and comprehensive, trauma-sensitive treatment to abused children, ages 0-18. Siblings will be kept together, and parents and caregivers can draw on a range of innovative services. All Star’s six five-bedroom residences are licensed for up to five foster children. Two foster parents are responsible for their care, after agreeing to a two-year commitment. May stresses that the foster parents will have the back-up support of a caring community.
All Star has also partnered with leaders across the child welfare system to assist in its mission. These include Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, which provides critical clinical advice and serves as the lead research entity. “That’s vital to our work,” notes McGillicuddy. “Incorporating the latest research is at the heart of what we do.” The All Star campus also includes the Children’s Center, which will offer trauma-focused clinical services when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Clinical services are now being offered to more than 65 children and their caregivers remotely.
All foster parents at All Star must be licensed as foster parents by the State of Florida and required to complete ASCF’s eight-week training session. This course educates prospective foster parents on meeting the needs of displaced children, while offering useful strategies on strengthening the parent-child relationship.
“We’re so grateful to the foster parents who’ve joined us,” says McGillicuddy. “Working together in the months ahead, I know we’ll give the children in our care the help they need.”
To find out more about being an ASCF foster parent, contact Lindsey May at (941) 217-6503.
For more information about All Star Children’s Foundation, visit www.allstarchildrensfoundation.org. The campus is located at 3300 17th St, Sarasota.
About All Star Children’s Foundation
All Star Children’s Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to healing the effects of trauma suffered by children who have been abused and transforming foster care through innovation, science, and compassion. All Star’s campus, located at 3300 17th St, in Sarasota, is a nurturing community consisting of a clinical treatment center; six family foster homes and inspirational green space featuring a playground, gardens and a clubhouse. Working with research experts from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, this innovative approach will be researched and evaluated in order to develop models that can be adopted by foster care systems around the state and country. This project has been partially funded under an agreement with the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families. Visit www.allstarchildrensfoundation.org.